Formula shortages have forced some retail chains to limit customers to purchasing only three bottles of formula per transaction.
INDIANAPOLIS — A shortage of baby formula in many parts of the United States is forcing retailers to ration their supplies.
This leaves many parents struggling to find enough food for their baby.
Shortages have forced some retail chains to limit customers to purchasing only three bottles of formula per transaction.
Part of the problem stems from a recall by Abbott Nutrition in mid-February for Similac and other Michigan-made formulas.
Some experts said infant formula supplies were already limited before then.
Dr. John Kunzer of the Community Health Network said parents can switch brands, as long as they use the same type of formula.
“The big thing we want people to do is make sure they’re not trying to skimp or do things on their own by diluting the formula to try and make it last longer. Don’t add water,” Kunzer said.
Kunzer and other aid professionals say this can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
“They won’t be getting enough carbs for their brains or protein for their growth or other vitamins and minerals. You definitely don’t want to mix anything up and have the wrong ratio,” said Wendy Cruse, head of clinical nutrition at Riley Hospital. for Children, which also runs the Milk Lab clinical program.
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Cruse said hospital staff at the Milk Lab faced similar issues trying to meet patient needs.
“It’s usually those mothers who have tried everything and found the product that their child tolerates and if it’s hard to get it, then it’s hard,” she said. “I think there’s definitely a group of babies who need a low-mineral formula if they have kidney failure or kidney problems, if they have metabolic disorders, if they have serious allergies, they are the ones who suffer the most.”
Kunzer said parents should buy enough formula for a child to last 10 days or two weeks and avoid hoarding.
Kunzer also urged parents to avoid replacing baby formula with infant formula.
“We don’t want parents trying to say, ‘Oh, I’m just going to give my 3-month-old baby cold milk. Really, we want to wait until the kids are a year old. If you give whole milk earlier to children under the age of one, this too can cause problems,” Kunzer said.
Both Kunzer and Cruse said anyone choosing to buy formula online should do so at trusted stores and major drugstores.
They advise doing your research to avoid scammers and sites that are not reputable. Also check with home care companies or contact a friend.